Estate and Business Succession Planning

With offices in Charlotte and Rock Hill, attorneys at the Law Offices of James C. Hardin III, P.L.L.C. have substantial experience in providing the full breadth of estate planning and trust and probate administration services for clients in North Carolina and South Carolina.

We carefully consider the needs and goals of our client in preparing every estate plan, and provide comprehensive, tax-sensitive estate planning documents individually tailored to each client.  As part of the estate planning process we prepare:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Medical Directives, including Living Wills
  • Beneficiary Designations for retirement assets
  • Generation-Skipping Trusts
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts

We also provide a wealth of ancillary legal services attendant to estate planning and probate matters, including:

  • An analysis of the proper and improper use of the various probate avoidance techniques
  • Ensuring property is properly titled and trusts are appropriately funded
  • Providing a plan for the possibility of subsequent incapacity or disability

Tax Planning

Tax planning is an inherent part of the estate planning process, and we advise our clients on estate planning strategies to minimize income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes.  We advise clients regarding:

  • Gifting strategies, including use of the annual gift tax exclusion
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
  • Planning involving retirement benefit accounts, including the use of Conduit Trusts to avoid accelerating distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs

Business Succession Planning

We are frequently brought into the planning process when a closely held business is being sold or when a family member is retiring from the business and wants to explore business succession planning options.  We structure tax saving strategies to facilitate the orderly transfer of control and wealth to successive generations, including Buy/Sell Agreements and utilizing advanced planning techniques such as gifts of fractionalized interests, including sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts.

Charitable Planning

We advise clients with charitable inclinations on ways to maximize the tax benefits of their contribution.  Firm principal Jim Hardin prepared Duke University's charitable giving forms, and has extensive experience in the area of charitable planning, including:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Private Foundations
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Forming and representing charitable organizations

Asset Protection

In today's litigious society high-net worth individuals are increasingly concerned about asset protection planning.  We advise clients regarding:

  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Corporate entities
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Multi-generational "Dynasty" Trusts
  • Trusts naming a third party "Special Trustee" or "Trust Protector"

Planning for Disability or Incapacity

A comprehensive estate plan takes into consideration the possibility of a client's subsequent incapacity. Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives serve to protect our clients against subsequent incapacity. We have significant experience in the area of planning for incapacity, and routinely advise clients on elder law issues, including planning considerations, and representation in conservatorship matters.  We also prepare and administer Special Needs Trusts, which are trusts that are designed to ensure continued eligibility for government benefits for a disabled or incapacitated beneficiary.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

Estate planning matters require counsel with specialized knowledge.  Firm principal Jim Hardin is named on regional and national "best of" tax and estate planning attorney lists, frequently speaks on estate planning and probate matters before attorneys and other professionals, has served in state and national attorney associations and committees focusing on estate planning and probate issues, has represented clients and served as an expert in cases involving estate planning probate and tax issues before state and federal courts, and has been actively involved in drafting and lobbying for many of the statutory provisions addressing estate tax, probate, trust and related matters in North Carolina and South Carolina.

We welcome your inquiry regarding our estate planning services.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.


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